Webinars are one of the most used and abused business tools out there. They can be employed in many different ways for a multitude of aims, but that also means there is a lot of potential for misuse and missteps. The goal of a webinar and its target audience mean there are nuances to how they should best be used, but there are ten common best practices that will improve your viewer’s experience of your webinar, and help you leverage the content you are generating going forward. Read on for our list of the top ten ways to improve your webinar delivery, and to re-purpose the content on an ongoing basis.

Common webinar mistakes
Image Credit: ASPCAPro.org


1. Prepare, Practice, Repeat

Almost any other issue with a webinar can be forgiven if you deliver excellent content. By running through your material and rehearsing your presentation, you’ll be less anxious and better able to handle any questions that may come up along the way. Actually reading it out loud to yourself (you wrote down notes on what to talk about, right?) will help you catch gaps in your explanation or awkward phrases before others hear them. You want to ensure your ideas are presented clearly in a logical order to avoid rambling about less key points or losing your audience’s interest early on. Just reading from your slides or from a script will tend towards a monotonous and boring delivery, and practicing will help you avoid that.

2. Upgrade Your Mic and Camera

You might be doing a screenshare, but at some point you may use your web cam, and you will almost certainly be using a microphone of some sort, whether it’s the built in mic that came with your computer, or an external USB mic. Getting an external web cam and microphone is absolutely worth it. Even a cheaper version will likely deliver better video and audio quality than the camera and mic built into your computer. These days, USB cameras and mics are very easy to set up and install. They also allow you to have a more flexible set up than being right in front of your laptop, speaking loudly into the mic. If you are relaxed and positioned comfortably, your presentation will go more smoothly than if you have to hunch over a computer the entire time.

3. Double and Triple Check Your Equipment Set Up

Speaking of equipment, test all of it right before you start your presentation. Make sure everything is in working order, and that you know how to operate it or troubleshoot if something goes wrong.


4. Keep it Short and Sweet

There are some cardinal rules for delivering good presentations. If it drones on for more than half an hour or 45 minutes, you will quickly lose your audience. People can only focus on a topic for about 18-20 minutes, so keeping it as short and snappy as a TED presentation is a good goal to keep in mind.

5. Make an Engaging Presentation

If you are showing a PPT, try not to have too many flashy animations (or any at all, for that matter) or people will be distracted from your message and your slides will take too long to click through. Another great tool to maintain engagement is to encourage audience participation. To prevent commenting or questions from derailing your presentation, you can designate time periods for discussion, or take questions via chat and then address them all at the end. Alternatively, audience polling is a great way to keep people’s attention, and can also provide valuable information or feedback.

6. Record and Export for Future Use

Webinars have remained extremely popular for a long time because at their best, they enable the delivery of information in an effective and entertaining way, and sometimes there are moments of clarity or conversational exchanges that have enduring value. Capturing the webinar is extremely important, and not just for archival purposes. You can use soundbites or sections of the presentation in multiple ways. Most webinar platforms have a recording feature, and can export to a web-friendly format. You may need to convert the final video, but more on that later.

Capturing clear audio is more important that capturing HD video – at least during the presentation. You can always swap out different visual elements later on.


7. Create a Highlight Reel

The chances someone will want to rewatch the entire webinar with pauses, questions, interjections, sneezes or technical glitches is slim to none. Take the time to remove any unnecessary moments from the video and you will greatly increase its value to any future viewers. You can go one step further, and cut out anything but the most important points, and improve the imagery or charts used as visuals. If there was a glitch with the audio recording, you can easily use a voiceover or narration to replace the problematic sequence. To maintain consistency, have the presenter re-record the audio in the same environment with the same settings as were used during the webinar.

8. Publish and Promote

Post archives of your webinar or highlight reels on your website in an appropriate section of your site, such as the homepage, help or content sections. To do so, you will need to look for a professional video hosting provide, such as SproutVideo, that offers tools to specifically help you securely publish your videos and promote them on the web. The goal is to put the webinars in easy-to-find places where prospects or current customers can access them as needed. Developing appropriate content around the webinars, like a detailed description with a call-to-action is a great way to motivate interested people to click, especially for longer form content. If a webinar is 20+ minutes long, people want to know whether it will be worth their time to watch it in its entirety, so they may take some convincing.

9. Upcycle Your Content

Similar to the highlight reel, you can take bits and pieces of your webinars and repackage them as fresh content or as part of other presentations. The audio might be easier to reuse than the visuals, and as we mentioned earlier, might be the most important part of your recorded presentation. Even for something like a site tour or product demo, you can create new videos for your help section without re-recording anything. For more sales and marketing oriented videos, you can repurpose the content as promotional or explainer videos on your site. Incorporating elements from prior webinars in new presentations is also a possibility. Getting creative with how you use your video content will help you maximize the value produced by the webinar.

10. Analyze and Improve

Even if your webinar was a success in terms of signups or conversions, you may still find some points for improvement. Increasing audience interactions, tweaking a chart or image, or even ommitting certain points might deliver a better experience for your viewers. It also keeps the content fresh so you avoid feeling like you are just repeating yourself over and again.

Each webinar is a chance to improve your presentation skills, so look at indicators of engagement such as audience interactions during and after the webinar, whether the archives are shared, how many times they are watched, the level of commenting or questions generated, and any other indication that the webinar captured people’s attention and provided ongoing value. Surveying participants is another great way to gather feedback to improve future webinars.

Did we miss any tips for maximizing the ROI on your webinars? Let us know in the comments below or share with us on Twitter.

Written by Courtney Purchon

Courtney is the Head of Marketing at SproutVideo. Follow her on Twitter.

Posted July 8, 2014

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